Foodiva's Kitchen: Lemongrass and Lime Birthday Cake Pop for the International Incident Party

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lemongrass and Lime Birthday Cake Pop for the International Incident Party

This month's International Incident Party is special on two counts. First, we are celebrating our energetic host,'s birthday. Secondly, the theme is Cake Pop, that cutesy ball-of-cake-on-a-lolly-stick made famous by the enormously talented Angie of Bakerella. My inner child just couldn't wait to get both its (my?...its?) hands dirty!

Though I've admired and frequently ogled at Bakerella's cake pop creations for a while, this was only the second time that I've attempted making them myself. Hmm...maybe the first in the strictest sense of the word as I had only made cake balls before this. Once you start inserting sticks into cake balls, it's a different game altogether and I later found out that it takes considerable skill to keep the compacted cake mix stuck onto the sticks!

My chocolate-coating technique had plenty of room for improvement, for as you'll soon witness, the surface of my cake pops had more lumps and bumps than a teenager's troubled complexion. After this experience, I bow down to Bakerella and talented others for their skills in making smooth, perfect-looking cake pops.

I thought at length about how I wanted to shape my cake pops, and I was rather torn between the traditional (spherical) or funky (other shapes). Eventually, I went with the funky, but something that's not too out-there so as to become unrecognizably cake pop-like. To celebrate your special day, Penny, here are my two-tiered Birthday Cake Pops!

For the cake itself, I opted for an unusual combination of flavors (in desserts, at least) which also proved surprisingly delicious - the kids at home devoured these, that's how I know. Lemongrass and lime cake, crumbled, compacted and later covered in pristine white chocolate and decorated with red sugar hearts and tiny birthday candles. I used both fresh and dried lemongrass as I wasn't too sure if using all fresh would make the cake flavor too intense and overpowering. Both lemongrass and lime have strong, distinct fragrances and flavors - lemongrass having a slightly citrusy-sweet and pungent, earthy aroma, while lime has a sharp and refreshing scent. Taking a bite out of these cake pops will stimulate and keep you wide-eyed with alertness. Never again will you leave your fate in the hands of that doctor fellow who quoted us over the years that eating too much carbs makes you feel sluggish!

Lemongrass and lime cake

The cake itself was light and airy in texture. I omitted the butter and reduced the sugar to compensate for the fact that I would be mixing in dense, sweet cream cheese frosting to bind the cake mixture together. I also squeezed extra lime juice into the frosting to give it more zing! As these Birthday Cake Pops were a bit larger in size than cake balls, I knew that regular pop sticks weren't sturdy enough to hold them up. So what's a girl to do? I used short, disposable wooden chopsticks instead. They worked out quite well, just look at the size of these momma cake pops!

Some industrial strength pop sticks!
A large-holed colander worked well as a stand for these cake pops

I can't wait to see what my fellow bloggers have brought along by way of Cake Pops, and I'd be honored if you will join me by clicking here or the thumbnails below to check them out. Without further ado, let me light the birthday candles and share the recipe with you...

Happy Birthday, Penny!
"Whadd'ya lookin' at?"
As I had some leftover cake mix, I couldn't help but make my very own Gangsta Chix ball!

Lemongrass and Lime Birthday Cake Pops
Lemongrass and Lime Cake
3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
1 cup self-rising flour
2 teaspoons ground lemongrass*
3 tablespoons hot lemongrass juice**

*For the ground lemongrass, I used dried lemongrass enclosed in teabags (herbal infusion) and ground it finely in a grinder.
**If you can't find ground or dried lemongrass, you can chop 1 tablespoon fresh lemongrass finely and boil for 10 minutes in 1/2 cup water. Allow to steep for 10 minutes, strain, and use the reserved liquid as the hot lemongrass juice for the sponge mix. I used both the dried and fresh lemongrass in the ingredients list above.

1. Preheat oven to 175ÂșC/350 F. Grease and flour a 9-inch cake pan.
2. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until dissolved. Add the yolks and lime zest and beat just to combine.
3. Sift together flour and lemongrass and gently fold through the egg mixture followed by the lemongrass juice.
4. Spoon mixture into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and cake springs back when pressed gently. Leave in pan for 5-10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.

Lime Cheese Frosting
250g/8oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioner's sugar
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon lime juice

In a bowl, whip the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and lime juice together until smooth. Use immediately to bind the cake mix.

Making the Birthday Cake Pops
You will need:
250g/8oz white chocolate candy melts
2 tablespoons Crisco or shortening (optional)
Round cookie cutters, 2 sizes (5cm/2in and 2.5cm/1in)
Lollipop or ice cream pop sticks (I used small, disposable wooden chopsticks)
decorative hearts or sprinkles

1. Make the cake mixture first. When the above cake is completely cool, crumble it with forks or your fingers in a bowl until it becomes fine crumbs.
2. Pour the lime cheese frosting into the cake crumbs and mix with a spoon. Then continue mixing with your fingers, kneading and mixing until fully incorporated into the cake. Check to see if it will roll into a ball. It should be a malleable, easy-to-handle cake mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm. You can leave the mix refrigerated for several days at this point.
3. Prepare a large baking sheet by covering with wax paper or parchment. On a clean surface, roll or pat the compact cake mixture flat to a thickness of 1 inch. Use a large cookie cutter and a smaller cookie cutter alternately to cut round shapes in the cake mix. This ensures that you have equal numbers of large and small discs. Place discs on the lined baking tray and place in the refrigerator while you melt your white chocolate coating.
4. Melt white chocolate in a double boiler. If you want to make the coating a little more runny for even, smoother coating, add a tablespoon of Crisco to the pot and let it melt. Stir well.
5. Take a small disc and dab one side with melted white chocolate. Immediately press gently on top of a larger disc - you've now got your two-tier 'birthday cake'! Leave to set for a few minutes.
6. Take a pop stick and dip one end in the white chocolate about 1-inch deep. Poke this end into the base of the larger disc. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Once the chocolate 'glue' has set, you can dip the cake pop into the chocolate until fully covered. Anchor the cake pops by poking the sticks upright into thick styrofoam blocks or sturdy boxes with makeshift holes.
7. Decorate each cake pop by placing a red candy heart on top. Don't refrigerate these as it will cause the coating to weep or melt. They can however be frozen, undecorated.


Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

LOVE the gangsta chix and wow - a two tiered cakepop? I had enough trouble with my one and I had a mold and everything LOL! A beautiful and a delicious post!


oh how fun... it sounds like a fun thing to do.. if i were to make this, it will definitely make me feel like i was a kid again.
love the flavors you infused. hmm i like the citrusy flavor that lemongrass gives... and yes happy birthday to Penny!

Cake Duchess said...

Your cake pops are fantastic! I want some for my birthday this year:)Love, LOVE gangsta chix;)

Foodiva said...

Mardi, I'm going to research cake pop molds now. I was totally CLUELESS when I made these....cake pops seem to have a mind of their own! My revenge was to eat a couple of these ;-).

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

I have a link to the mold I used in my post ;-)

Foodiva said...

Malou, you can't imagine how much of a kid I was! Remember handpainting or eating cake with your hands as a toddler? There was much finger-licking (and OCD-like handwashing) going on behind the scenes, not captured on camera here... LOL.

*kimmie* said...

Those turned out beautiful and the recipe sounds delicious! How clever to use the colander for holding them!

Rochelle (Acquired Life) said...

Very cute! Your layered cake pops came out beautifully and so sweet of you to use Penny as inspiration :)

I'm also curious as to how the cake tastes with lemon grass and lime... if it's anything like my brain imagines, it must be delicious!

Foodiva said...

Thanks Kimmie. Wished I'd thought of a cooling rack like Penny, but this colander idea wasn't too bad either. My heavy cake pops were very naughty and quite a handful to handle!

Foodiva said...

Rochelle, I didn't know it was also your birthday month so these cake pops are dedicated to you too. Pity there are none left, but it's the thought that counts!

Conor @ Hold the Beef said...

So very much cleverness going on here - LOVE the flavour of your cake, the fact that you've made such perfect little birthday cakes, and using the colander? Brilliant!!

Gangsta chix, tee hee :)

Foodiva said...

Conor, looks like we both have a bird fetish. Mine's on the non-flight, Yakuza variety! Haha

Raji said...

These are so cute...and the little chick is the cutest.

msihua said...

Hahaha... I'm loving this.. so pretty.. and that gangxta chick... AWESOME!

Cooking Gallery said...

These look pretty! I love cake pops too, they're so fun to make :)

penny aka jeroxie said...

OMG! thank you thank you. I, too, envy those that have such delicate crafty hands to make beautiful smooth balls. We all learn a lot from making these babies. love the gangsta chix!!

Foodiva said...

Penny, glad you like your Birthday Cake Pops. There's no cake cutting involved after you blow out the candles, that's probably one of the best thing about these little babies. This was a hair-tearing but terrifyingly fun session! Hope your birthday was good!

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

I love the sweet tiered shape of these! And the lime frosting sounds amaaazing.

Anonymous said...

Your cake pops are gorgeous and I love the flavor! When I make them, it's all I can do to form balls to stay on the stick...these are super impressive :) And, using the colander is super smart. I will have to try that technique.

Cheap Ethnic Eatz said...

Gansta Chix and bday cakes, love it! And love the lemongrass and lime combo a lot. Yes there was a lot of frustration when most of us did not feel up the Bakerella's par but it was fun.

Anh said...

what a beautiful recipe! I love the look of the cape pops!

aipi said...

Wow... what a beautiful and tasty treat that is!
You got these perfect to the T ! The little chick is super duper cute :)
US Masala

The Weight Watcher said...

Wow, i'm amazed at the two tiers-how did you manage to keep them from sliding down?!

Love the gangsta chix, hehe!

PS: You've got a bunch of awards waiting for you at my blog! Do accept them! :)

Jennifurla said...

you did great, bravo for the shape! Lovely idea.

Christina said...

These look amazing. I love the two tiers.

Anonymous said...

I love making cake pops! How creative that you made a tiered one!

spcookiequeen said...

These look so good, I have yet to try these cute cake pops. Don't know why, I eat cake all the time and who doesn't like things on a stick. I love how you tiered them. Even more interesting is the flavor of the cake, yum. I have a cookbook giveaway if you are interested.

Foodiva said...

Gina, are you kidding me? Of course I'm interested! I'm going right over...

Trix said...

I am so sorry I missed this party! But who am I kidding? I would have made a MESS! Your flavors here are really what I like when I am feeling peckish for sweets ... so cute.

Spicie Foodie said...

I agree with Gina they look so good, and the flavors just wow. Maya were do you get all of your constant creativity? Where ever you do, keep it going. And that Gangsta Chix rocks, hehe :)

Anonymous said...

What a fun project!!! I just love the smell of lemon grass, if there were a home spray with lemon grass, or even a perfume, I'd buy it, that and basil!

Magic of Spice said...

How fun these are! Love the flavor of these bet they are amazing :)

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

I like these a lot, they look like mini 2 tiered wedding cakes!

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